Saturday, September 2, 2017

Steam Cooking at Home: BMI = 32

I recently ordered a home steam cooker made by Hamilton Beach. I did so because at work I have a commercial steam oven and can easily prepare small portions of rice with veggies without being distracted from my other tasks. I hoped to replicate such an advantage in my home cooking.

I noticed that the suggested cooking time in the manual seemed a little long - about 5 to 7 minutes longer than what I expect in my commercial steam oven at work. I quickly figured out that the times were, on average, about 6 minutes longer than in a commercial steam oven because the Hamilton Beach Digital steamer starts out cold, and takes about 6 minutes to get going - depending on how much water is in it. To this end, I recommend always starting with the reservoir filled to max in order to get consistent results.

It has two layers, or you can take out the divider and have a very large cooking area. It also came with a little insert tray for cooking rice. It seems a bit fragile for my liking but then I throw around giant commercial pots all day at work. The price, however, was incredible considering the convenience it provides. I'll wait to valuate just how good it is until I've cooked 100 meals in it.

My first meal, and only one I've cooked in it so far, turned out smashing. I made a lemon and veggie rice, steamed broccoli, and had that with a about 2 ounces of roasted pork. I did use some soya sauce, so the salt might have been a little high, but I was very reserved in the salt I put in the rice in the first place.

So, recipe:

100 grams basmati rice

100 grams water

020 grams minced celery

020 grams minced red onion

020 grams carrot, sliced super thin with veggie peeler

020 grams lemon - just a slice of lemon tossed in

salt and pepper to taste, but lots of pepper!

Put that in rice tray in lower tray of steamer and set timer for 30 minutes.

Spray 100 grams of broccoli florets with non-stick cooking spray and then toss with a little salt and pepper to pre-season. When the timer on the steamer gets down to 6 minutes, toss the broccoli in the upper tray.

When the cooker beeps to tell you dinner is ready, transfer all to dinner plate and garnish with a slice of roast pork (about 2 ounces). Rinsing off the steamer trays takes just a minute or two, although I did take a soft cloth to the rice bowl to make sure nothing was sticking in there.

So the major calorie components in this dish are the basmati and the pork. The basmati is about 375 calories, and the pork is about 140 calories, so that's 515 calories. The veggies and slice of lemon should have been enough to bring me up to 600 calories.

There were no added sugars - unless the soya sauce was spiked (I forgot to check). Everything was low salt but I was adding salt myself and then soya sauce so I might have had too much but I did try to season conservatively.

The taste of this meal was great. Ok, it wasn't roast-lamb-and-mashed-taters-great - but I did enjoy it and was full when finished. I really like fresh lemon and pepper in my rice. Spiking the rice with the mirepoix veggies gives it a lot of color and adds to the aroma as the meal cooks. Pre-seasoning the broccoli allows just enough of the salt and pepper to penetrate to avoid that 'hospital food' flavour, well, lack-of-flavour.

I'm looking forward to trying a lot of variations on this exact meal. I may try adding some wild rice, or perhaps cooking barley in place of the rice. I might have to try steaming some artichoke. Definitely gonna get some asparagus in there soon.

I think this is the first day in a long time that I got my full daily allotment of fruit and veggies. Now I just need to make a habit of that.

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